Should cancelled reservations due to a rules violation be eligible for a review?

Back in January we had an issue with a guest throwing a party with lots of pot smoking. We’ve since strengthened our description language and house rules to clearly state that it’s a no smoking, no loud music, no more than 6 guests house. We’ve also added Instant Book prompts to make sure people are OK with no smoking/parties, and resolved to meet with IB guests if their answers are vague or sketchy.

On Friday, a guest booked for the weekend and didn’t respond to the IB prompts. I had to ask him separately, and he agreed to them. I met him when he checked in. He seemed like a nice, responsible, 30-something guy, mentioned he’s just staying with his GF for the weekend (although he booked with three guests). I didn’t think anything of it.

I also told him how I have a lock/cover over the thermostat and how it’s set to be comfortable for most people, but if he wanted it adjusted to just message me and I’d happily adjust.

On Sat morning, we hear talking outside (it’s a 2-family home, we live upstairs, the Airbnb is the downstairs unit). Curious, I go to the porch and hear the guests chatting below and smell pot smoke. I was annoyed but let it go since it was done outside.

In the early afternoon, I went to grab laundry from the downstairs entry way area (a small room separating the Air unit from the front outside entrance) and it reeked of pot smoke.

I called the guest at that point and that’s when the lies started:

Me: "I smelled pot downstairs. What’s up?"
Him: "That’s impossible."
Me: "I was just down there and it was really strong."
Him: “It must be from next door.” (One lot next door is vacant. The other one is a family with small kids. There’s no way.).
Me: I heard people outside this morning and smelled it.
Him: It must have been my cousin. Let me talk to him.
Me: You said it was just you and your GF.
Him: That was just last night. But then my cousins are staying. I booked with three guests.
Me: Are you there?
Him: Yes.
Me: OK, I’m going downstairs to talk.
Him: Actually, I’m not there but my cousins are there. Let me call them first.

We hang up. I go downstairs and knock on the door. Still reeks. There’s shuffling around for a good 1-2 mins. Someone answers.

There are three guys hanging out in the living room. I’d say teens to early 20’s. They fessed up to smoking out back, but that’s “before they saw the posted no smoking sign in the unit.” They then told me they were smoking pot out on the street and it was the smell on their clothes that was what I must have been smelling.

Then, and this is the mind-boggling part. I notice that the stove has four top burners lit on high. WTF?! “Oh, we were chilly and wanted to keep the place warm.”

This being a major fire hazard, and with all of the lies, I asked them all to pack up and leave within the hour.

OK, that was super long. Thanks for wading through that.

I’m at the point now where I don’t want this guy to write a review. I’m sure he’s pissed off, but I don’t really care to be honest. I called Air and suggested that since it was cancelled mid-stay, why not fully erase the reservation so reviews aren’t possible.

I got nowhere with it. It doesn’t seem right to me that a guest plainly violated house rules and are still allowed to write a review. It’s a two-way street.

What do you guys think?


Like you said, it’s a two way street. If he can’t review you, you can’t review him. I don’t want to host him and neither does anyone else so please leave an honest review. Going with the no reviews option means this guy rents somewhere else.


Did you say it was a third party booking?

No - he instant booked on Airbnb.

But now I risk getting a crappy review because he violated our house rules and nearly burned our house down.

I understand that and I’m sure you understood that as well when you started renting on Airbnb, or at least after you started reading the forum. However if every host is going to allow themselves to cower in the face of “fear of a bad review” then we may as well get rid of all reviews. Airbnb has their rules and guidelines and they aren’t going to change. He should be more afraid of your review than yours of him.

I suggest you wait until the end of the 14 day review period so as not to provoke him into leaving one. If he does go ahead and leave you one then proceed to write yours.

Have you added the cameras yet?


It (Blink camera) arrived this week and am installing today.


I’m completely fine with receiving a bad review under normal circumstances. If I provide a sub-par service or my accommodation isn’t to the guest’s liking, I welcome the review and the accompanying feedback.

But there’s a difference between that and a review being written out of spite as a result of something they initiated.

If you otherwise have great reviews other potential guests will realize this guy’s bad review is just out of spite and not accurate. Your other reviews will speak for themselves. Think about it like Amazon. If your considering buying a product and everyone gives it great reviews except one person, you will ignore the one bad review.

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My point is that the review rules are what they are, known in advance and aren’t going to change in the next two weeks. IF they review and IF their review violates guidelines you can get it removed. They are the ones that should be complaining that you shouldn’t be allowed to review them. You shouldn’t be afraid of them. They were in the wrong.

Keep in mind that the rule is to protect guests from hosts who screw them over. Hosts who screw over their guests generally aren’t posting here (despite claims to the contrary) so you may not be aware. If you are in the middle of your stay and the host cancels on you, of course you should be able to review.

You can also respond to their review. Pointing out that you are going to remove people who smoke in your rental may help prevent this from happening again.

Make sure you disclose it in the listing, picture it, mention it again in the rules and hopefully it will help deter the partiers. Keep us posted on the outcome.


Hear, hear.

I believe that we have a responsibility to others in our happy ‘fraternity’ and one of those responsibilities is warning other hosts about bad guests. One bad review wouldn’t bother me. Potential guests are smart enough to figure out that one bad review in and amongst excellent ones shouldn’t really count for much.


Seems like it is a bit unfair to receive a bad, retaliatory type of review in the case that the guest violated rules and/or broke laws and it would be nice to see that addressed at some point.

Are hosts still allowed to respond to reviews? I haven’t seen any follow-ups on reviews when browsing Air properties, but I used to see the occasional, “Sorry about the floors, I will notify my cleaning people asap” or something like that in response to a comment in a review.

I am sorry for what happened to you, and the added burden of the possibility of a bad review.

If, in fact, they do leave a review at all, and if it’s a bad one, it sucks because it brings down your metrics. In the heat of the moment, it seems like all is lost. But prospective guests are wise creatures, and they will see a glitch for what it is. You and your numbers will heal soon enough.

What I often forget is that a guest with an honest review doesn’t have that same degree of recuperation. Should you post an honest review, who the hell would accommodate them, anyway? In effect, you’ve killed their future on Airbnb.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch.


Just leave a review at the last minute. It’s a bit of a game but he won’t leave one first for you, I guarantee. Retaliation is not allowed but if it’s not overt it is difficult to prove. As one who has had ghastly attack style reviews left for me that were more personal than about the space, I have fought tooth and nail and was unable to get them removed. Each time it happened I thought my hosting was over and then I would get more great reviews and it would eventually scroll away.

I hate the review system. There’s not much you can do except live with it. Please leave an honest review. Just do it at the last minute.



To get you started on your review…edit at will:

Tom reserved for 3 nights with his girlfriend. It turned out to be a ruse because he substituted three others to stay without my knowledge. When I arrived to check on the situation, Curley, Moe and Larry were there and admitted to smoking (pot) in my rental (against the House Rules). They also had all the burners on the stove turned on High heat without anything on them. It necessitated my ordering everyone to vacate the rental immediately.


LOL - I should get you to write all of my posts for me.


LOL!!! Good one …

Thanks! …and “Tom” was part of the Dick & Harry group.

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Nope, Tom was just a dick. (Sorry for potty mouth, mods, couldn’t resist.)


I’m pretty sure two of them were named Cheech and Chong!